This week’s fantastic binding was first brought to my attention by our reading room staff when they posted some photographs of it on our Facebook page.
This stunning Gothic binding is found on the 1846 printing of the Missale Romanum, published by Sacrae Congregationis de Propaganda Fide (or the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith).
This heavy-duty Missal is bound in contemporary black goatskin (or “Morocco”) on heavy boards. It was clearly designed for heavy usage, as both the front and the back boards feature an ornate central boss and four corner bosses in brass. These bosses protect the boards of the book as it is laid open, and keeps the corners from wearing down. Extending from the central bosses on both boards is a brass lattice-work that meets the clasp-plate and clasp-hinge, although the clasp is no longer extant.
This particular book was also probably a centre-piece of daily worship, as it is a beautiful item to behold. All of the edges of the book have been gilt and gauffered, and the turn-ins and board edges have been blind tooled. It also has seven fabric tabs for quick reference and use.
This book is very fitting for missionary use: it is heavy-duty, beautiful and has everything a traveling priest might need for daily worship.